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Slender Clarkia
Clarkia exilis
About Slender Clarkia (Clarkia exilis) 0 Nurseries Carry This Plant Clarkia exilis is a small herbaceous annual plant of western North America. It is an uncommon species in the evening primrose family known by the common names Kern River clarkia and slender clarkia. C. exilis is an annual herb producing a slender, erect stem often exceeding half a meter in height. The bright green leaves are lance-shaped to narrowly oval, hairless, up to 6 centimeters long, and sometimes lacking petioles. The top of the stem is occupied by the inflorescence, with open flowers and deflexed buds towards the tip of the stem. The sepals and ovary may be lightly hairy (but typically distinctly less so than its sister-species Clarkia unguiculata). The sepals will remain fused together along one side as the petals bloom. Each of the four petals has a narrow claw and diamond-shaped limb. The entire petal is up to 1. 5 centimeters long and white or soft purple or pink, sometimes with a purple spot. There are eight stamens, four of which have large reddish anthers and four with smaller, paler anthers. At maturity the style is equal to the stamens. The fruit is a capsule up to 3 centimeters long and about 2 millimeters wide that may contain from a few to 80 seeds. C. exilis is endemic to California, where it is known only from the woodlands of the southernmost Sierra Nevada foothills immediately northeast of Bakersfield and the adjacent Tehachapi Mountains. Populations are largely proximal to the Kern River and its nearby drainages, with some few populations found to the immediate west in the foothills of the Sierra as they descend to the Great Central Valley.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Annual herb

1.6 ft tall

Flower Color
Flower Color

Wildlife Supported


Landscaping Information
Common uses
Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Natural Setting
Annual Precipitation: 9.6" - 24.6", Summer Precipitation: 0.23" - 0.76", Coldest Month: 38.2" - 50.8", Hottest Month: 61.2" - 78.7", Humidity: 1.11" - 28.15", Elevation: 641" - 6367"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Kern River Clarkia, Kern River Fairyfan

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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